“The Loved and the Lost,” is a 117 page novel written by GSIS student, Justine Hong to raise awareness about comfort women. Writing about the struggles of being a comfort woman from the viewpoint of a 16 year old girl, Justine attempts to move the hearts of her readers.
“The Loved and the Lost” was written as Justine’s personal project and based on her experiences at the House of Sharing, a museum and refuge for former comfort women. She is a translator for English tour guides at the House of Sharing. After having firsthand interactions, Justine described her inspiration, “I thought writing about the comfort women would be good because it’s a human rights topic that’s unique in Korea, so it would make my book unique; it would stand out from other historical fiction books.”
Justine’s took her involvement in the House of Sharing to use her emotions that convey what occurred during Japan’s occupation over Korea. She explained this as a way to “communicate what normal textbooks cannot.” Justine defined fiction as the method of giving off an “emotional aspect that can reach otherwise uninterested readers.
While this book’s original’s audience was students her age, her book is now available for purchase online for readers of any age. Justine’s goal of awareness has not yet quite reached its full potential. She said, “Honestly, the book hasn’t sold much. A few acquaintances have bought it, but I’ve actually just been distributing copies wherever I go. I’ve had a book signing event at school where I gave out signed copies to teachers and students. I’ve given one to the GSIS library, I’ve distributed copies at the House of Sharing, I’ve given one to an Austrian school via my mom’s German friend, and I’m sending several to my old teachers and middle school library in the U.S.”
For those interested in purchasing her book it can be found online at Kyobo bookstore.